The United States is facing a teacher shortage. According to a new report from the Learning Policy Institute, the shortage stands to get worse. A U.S. News and World Report article maintains that “teacher attrition is the biggest issue” in education. There has been significant focus on recruiting the (few) new teachers in the job market. The article from U.S. News and World Report indicates that policymakers should focus on ways to hold onto the teachers already employed in districts, especially those in hard-to-staff schools. Rather than place the responsibility on policymakers, I believe schools and districts can also do a great deal to improve teacher retention by understanding these three determining factors.
If you want to make sure you’re on the right road, you first need to know where you’re going. The same is true for teacher evaluations. When designing or updating your evaluation process, you need to keep your desired end result in focus. The desired end result for most districts is teacher growth that leads to increased student achievement.
There’s a great episode of the popular podcast Freakonomics that explores our human tendency to continue along paths that no longer serve us. “Failure is Your Friend” addresses many reasons why we stick to plans, jobs, lifestyles, etc. that are not working out. For the purposes of this post I want to examine one of these reasons in particular: inertia.